Science and faith a false dichotomy – God has given us brains


Wesleyan Methodist minister and media chaplain Frank Ritchie says opposing mass gathering regulations is not a hill on which Christians need to die.

He describes the resistance to following the Government’s COVID-19 rules by Murray Watkinson, the leader of Wainoni’s revivalist Celebration Centre and other Christian leaders as “extremely sad”.

Richie says Watkinson’s posts – which pit faith against science, and religious leadership against civic leadership – present a false dichotomy.

“God has given us brains; God puts leadership in place, so we’re following the words of people who, one could argue, God has gifted with the ability to guide us through these sorts of situations,” he said.

“Jesus encouraged us to love our neighbour. We’ve been given very clear instructions here on how to love our neighbour by experts.”

“By following the rules, we’re looking after the vulnerable; we’re looking out for people who are susceptible to having their lives ripped apart by the virus.”

Watkins took to social media earlier this month to question whether world powers “have our best interests at heart.”

In a post, Watkinson told church members: “We are being told we must listen to science. By implication, this means don’t listen to God.”

“If God’s people and the prophets present an opinion that opposes the worldly narrative we are conspiracy theorists,” he wrote.

“Satan is real; he is constantly inspiring people to do unlawful and harmful things; his plan is to deceive the world, separating humanity for eternity from God.”

A former attendee who alerted Newshub to the posts said he was worried by the “dangerous” messages Watkinson sent to church members in his post.

The failure to comply with alert level restrictions has initiated discourse regarding religion amid the pandemic, with many highlighting that those of faith are more likely to show scepticism towards science-based evidence.

Murray and Nancy Watkinson started Celebration Centre Church in 1990.

A movement of churches has been established meeting annually in New Zealand and the Philippines.


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News category: New Zealand.

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